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2023 ATHENA Awards® Nominations

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32nd Annual ATHENA Award®

Wednesday, March 29, 2023  |  Buffalo Convention Center

Nominations are now open

Title Sponsor


We at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership want to welcome you to the ATHENA nomination process and thank you in advance for taking the time to nominate a leader and/or organization who you feel deserves this award. These are the most prestigious awards the BNP offers each year, and are part of a national effort to identify and honor high-achieving women and organizations who stand out in their fields.

As you surely understand, this is a competitive process, but we strive to make it diverse and inclusive, and this year we’ve modified the nomination process to make it more intuitive, easier to complete online, and simpler for you to fully describe your nominee, whether it is an individual or organization, and their distinctiveness. We also updated the process to include an optional short video submission of nominees, both individuals, and organizations.

 We are also offering for the first- time professional writing and communications support so even if you are not a trained public relations person, or your organization does not have a full-time PR person, you can learn how to make your nomination as effective as possible.

The ATHENA Awards® are the region's most prestigious award recognizing the professional accomplishments of exceptional individuals and organizations dedicated to the advancement of women.  Best of all, nominees are chosen by you!

You are invited to submit a nomination today!  This is your opportunity to recognize an outstanding individual or business in the following categories:

Nominate an individual who is:

  • Professionally successful
  • Committed to the betterment of the Buffalo Niagara region
  • Actively assists others, particularly women

Nominate an organization that:

  • Supports, develops, and honors women leaders
  • Inspires women to achieve their full potential
  • Creates balance in leadership throughout Buffalo Niagara

ATHENA Award® Descriptions & Criteria:

ATHENA Award® - How to Nominate

There is a two-step process for nominating an individual or organization

1. Submit this quick and easy short form informing us of your intent to nominate – as soon as possible

2.  Complete the nomination application and send it to us by January 31, 2023.

Need help with writing your application?  See the virtual workshop information on the sidebar.

  • New this year!  The application form can be saved as you work to complete it.

Who qualifies?

  • Membership in the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is not a requirement for nominees, nor do individual nominees need to be employed by a BNP member firm.
  • Previous Athena Award nominees are eligible for re-nomination.
  • Nominees from all sectors, for–profit, non-profit, public sector, and private sector are eligible for award categories.
  • Employees of the BNP, previous Athena award recipients, and Athena Executive Committee members are not eligible for nomination.

Guidelines for Nominators

  • Please reach out to your individual nominee(s) prior to submitting the nomination form.
  • You are strongly encouraged to work with the individual nominee or organizational nominee regarding their details for the nomination form.
  • Organizations, groups, boards or individuals may nominate a person and/or an organization. Nominators may submit more than one person or one organization for the award(s).
  • The only way to nominate an individual or organization is by filling out and sending in the nomination form.

NOTE: To enhance your nomination application, you can send up to 3 supporting documents. Including, but not limited to: resume, promotional acknowledgment, awards, honors received, community service recognition etc. Supporting documents may differ for organizational award nominees. This is not mandatory.

(Individuals and Organization categories)

We want to assist you in your ATHENA Award® nomination application process for individuals and/or organizations. Professional, expert advice is available for you.

Free to BNP members and non-members.

Questions about the nomination process?


Michelle Braswell -  | 716-541-1773

ATHENA Award® Selection Process

  • All nomination applications will be reviewed by the Athena Executive Committee after January 31, 2023. The committee will vote on the top 10 nominees for the individual awards and the top 5 for the organizational awards.  This will result in the finalist selections.   
  • Finalists will be notified in early February 2023 with details regarding important dates and deadlines, photo shoot opportunities, and details.

Prior to the event, the Athena Executive Committee will review the finalists' forms and will grade the applications based on the criteria outlined. No one, including BNP staff and the Athena Executive Committee, will not be made aware of the Athena Award recipients. All graded finalist applications will be sent directly to the official accounting firm of Athena and the recipients will be announced live at the March 29, 2023 event!

About the ATHENA Awards®

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area representative for ATHENA International, a nonprofit that seeks to support, develop, and honor women leaders. The ATHENA Awards® are celebrated around the world in more than 500 communities and 8 countries.

The Annual Luncheon brings the individual and organizational finalists together with the community for networking and a celebratory Awards presentation!

ATHENA Awards® Executive Committee

Crystal Peoples-Stokes
Honorary Co-Chair

Trina Burruss
Chief Operating Officer | United Way

Lorrie Clemo
President | D’Youville University

Juweria Dahir
Executive Director | Entrepreneurship For All (eforall)

Rhonda Frederick
President and CEO | People, Inc.

Melissa Free
SVP & Chief Marketing Officer | Seneca Resorts & Casinos

Kelli Griffin
SVP, Head of Experience | Northwest Bank

Elizabeth Woike-Ganga
CEO | BestSelf Behavioral Health

Rachael Herrmann
Social Impact & Community Engagement Specialist | Rich Products Corporation

Danielle Ossher
Creative Director | Buffalo Magazine

Mary Owusu
CEO & Head of Digital |

Teresa Sprague
Creative Services Manager | Independent Health

Vilona Trachtenberg
Distribution Coordinator  |   New Era Cap Company

Sujata Yalamanchili
Partner | Hodgson Russ LLP

Thank You to our 2023 Annual ATHENA Award® Sponsors

Title Sponsor

Presenting Sponsor

Finalist Sponsor

Official Accounting Sponsor

Official Media Sponsor

Supporting Sponsors